In Her Suitcase is an interview section on the blog that turns the spotlight on women who inspire me, who can inspire you, and who try to create their best lives by coloring their journeys in their own unique and remarkable ways.
Before the year comes to an end, I thought I’d publish an interview with Audrey Angcos who has been a huge part of my blogging life this year. Audrey, like me, has a full-time job and is also a blogger. Aside from work and blogging, she also has a few other passion projects that she does really well. It’s apparent in the interview that Audrey pours her heart and energy into everything that she does, but what I admire most about her is that she’s grateful, real, and humble. No wonder she’s been receiving so much blessings this year.
Read on as she talks about her cheerful journey. Enjoy!!!
Thanks for your time, Audrey! Tell us about what you do professionally. What made you decide to pursue your job, and what is the most fulfilling part of it?
Hello! I have a full time work at the Senate of the Philippines. I work as Legislative Staff Officer from Monday to Thursday. I’ve been with the Senate for almost four years now.
I’m glad that I landed on a job that I enjoy. I have the nicest boss and officemates. and we are like family in the office. There are also instances when I am tasked to work for Senate-related events such as the yearly State of the Nation Address (SONA), the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption, and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). These are the instances when I have to step out of my shell and interact with parliamentarians, senators from other countries, and diplomatic core groups. I enjoy the resiliency of my work. It gives me the right amount of challenge that pushes me to grow and learn more.
Now, tell us about your passion projects, i.e., the things that you do on the side. What are they, why do you do them, and can you tell us about your journey to discovering these passions?
READING ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES
Oh, passion projects! Aside from my work in the Senate, I am also one of the board members of the Reading Association of the Philippines. This NGO helps promote literacy throughout the Philippines. I remember the time when I went to Tacloban to represent the organization. It was months after typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) badly hit Tacloban. With the help of International Book Bank (IBB), I went there to help rebuild the libraries of 25 public schools.
It was such a pleasant surprise to know that Duke Maximillian (the first cousin of Prince Charles) and Archduchess Valerie of Austria were also part of the mission. They went to Tacloban secretly and wore regular clothes to avoid media attention.
I cried and smiled as I listened to the stories of Yolanda survivors. One of the kids approached me and told me “I miss my mother so much! Even though Yolanda took her from me, I will still do my best to make her proud by studying hard.” He then smiled and said, “I also lost my older sister who was about your age. Could you give me a hug?” That made me speechless for few seconds. It was such a tiring yet very fulfilling experience! As I handed the books to the teachers and students and saw their happiness, oh, I can’t help but thank God for giving me the opportunity to do these things.
I blog at cheerfuljourney.com and am a contributor at makeitblissful.com. I love writing! Blogging is like sharing a part of yourself to your readers. It is such a delight whenever I receive a letter or an email from readers informing me how they love reading my blog and how my blog became a part of their lives. It is like communicating to friends that you haven’t personally met.
I also love supporting local entrepreneurs and local products. Through blogging, I was able to meet several entrepreneurs with different brands but all with inspiring stories to tell. It is such a privilege to be a medium for these brands to share their stories to the public.
Through blogging, I was also able to meet new friends! How great is that?!
COLLABORATIONS and EVENTS
I started doing collaborations and events this year (2015). I always have the desire to organize meaningful events. Last June, I went out of my shell as I co-organized a Blissful Blogging Workshop with Carmel, the first public Blissmakerie last September, and most recently, two Luminisce events last November and December! It was a whirlwind romance between me an events organizing.
There was a lot of pressure and yet, I was able to learn how to handle it and how to work efficiently under pressure. Honestly, I love the challenge of organizing events. When the event turned out well and the participants informed you that it was such a meaningful and intentional event, then that makes all the work, pressure, and sleepless nights worth it!
Are these passion projects helping you in your professional life, in any way? How?
Yes, they train me to become more professional and efficient. I used to rely on the deadline of submission of reports. Now, whenever I receive the work, I would start doing it right away to avoid procrastinating.
Organizing events and blogging also help me appreciate the value of time and efficiency. Since my blog is all about appreciating the positive things in life, I tend to automatically appreciate even the smallest beautiful things that happen at work. I also try to see the silver linings in case a situation does not work on my favor.
Any amazing discoveries about yourself as you continue to develop these facets of your life?
Honestly, I was surprised with myself this year – specifically on how I got the guts to organize events. Let me tell you a story. Last February, a restaurant manager approached me and told me to organize an event for the re-launching of my blog (which took place last March 2015). He offered an all-expense paid event in their restaurant. My reaction then was: “Are you serious?! No… Who would attend an event that I’ll organize?! I am not as good as Martine De Luna or Patty Laurel-Filart noh! I don’t have the guts to organize an event.” That incident kept replaying on my mind. There was a lot of “what ifs” — “What if I grabbed that opportunity?” “What if I can actually organize meaningful events?” “What if it will be successful?” Those questions haunted me for weeks.
Talking with Carmel came as a sign. We both want to organize passion-based events but we were both scared. We are both experienced in doing events from our work background but were hesitant to give passion-based events a try. Eventually, both of us decided to go for it and ran a well-received Blissful Blogging Workshop last June 2015. As they say, the rest is history.
I discovered that if I put passion into what I do, I can achieve greater things. If the intention of what I do is right, God will bless it and it will prosper.
What does “coloring the journey” mean to you?
“Coloring the Journey” means accepting life’s challenges, enjoying life’s journey, and striving to achieve your full potential as a person. Life’s journey is not an easy road, but all those bumps, challenges, sorrows, successes, and happiness along the way will add colors as you continue your life’s journey.
Life is a journey and in every trip or journey, we bring suitcases. Inside our “life suitcases” are the lessons we have picked up along the journey that we take with us wherever we go. What’s in your suitcase?
- Always ask God and your loved ones for guidance You need to ask counsel from the people genuinely care about you and your welfare. Of course, God will never leave us nor forsake us. At the same time, our loved ones – parents, family, close friends — know us better and would have a thing or two to share on how we need to embark on our life’s journey. It is better to surround ourselves with the right people.
- Educate yourself and take calculated risks.In order to be successful in life, we need to educate ourselves – not just in academics but in life as a whole. My we use the things that we learn as guide when taking calculated risks that may change our lives for the better.
- Know your intentions for the things and decisions that you do or make. In everything that we do or decide on, we need to be sure that our intention is right. Sometimes, the journey is not that easy, there will be turbulence along the way. When we are tired and weary in the path that we trod, these intentions will keep us going. If we have the right intentions, at the end of the day, we will have peace within ourselves.
- Be grateful and be a blessing to others. We always need to strive to see the silver lining of life. Let us practice to count our blessings – small and great. In so doing, we will have a grateful attitude, which will make us appreciate life even more. In all the blessings that we receive, let us learn how to give back by being a blessing to others.
Thank you, Audrey, for your time and for inspiring us! May you have an even more awesome 2016!